Spain is cracking down on visitor numbers to four stunning islands in the north-west of the country. Britons hoping to visit the Atlantic Islands of the Galicia National Park will face tough restrictions. The protected marine islands of Cíes, Ons, Sálvora and Cortegada are home to some of the best beaches in the world because of their turquoise water and white sand. The Galicia National Park is the tenth most visited national park in Spain – but visitor numbers are set to be curbed.
The Galician government wants to tighten existing environmental rules to impose tougher restrictions on tourist numbers.
Visitor numbers to the island will be capped, with the total slashed by several thousand.
Ons currently receives 1,600 to 1,800 holidaymakers per day in August.
But under the new restrictions, only 1,300 will be allowed on the island in the high season and 450 at other times.
The limit for Cíes will be 1,800 people and 450 at other times, while in Sálvora and Cortegada the daily limit will be capped at 250 throughout the year.
Another proposed way to keep the tourist numbers lower is to ban a regular boat service to the Atlantic islands.
However, tourism companies on the archipelagos are furious at the measures, slamming the new restrictions as “ridiculous and out of touch.”
“It is a serious mistake,” they said in a joint statement. “The new rules don’t meet the reality of the demand or interest these destinations are receiving at international tourism fairs.
“They don’t respond to any conservation objective and hurt those companies directly or indirectly linked to travel, lodgings or the hotel industry.”
They believe a blanket ban on visitor numbers is not the solution and maintain the government should consider different ways to promote awareness of the islands’ beauty.
Businesses have drawn companion to As Catedrais beach in Lugo, also in Galicia, which has a huge limit of 4,812 people a day despite only covering eight hectares.
“The Xunta of Galicia has drawn up this document in a hasty way, without consulting local people,” said the protesters.
“It leaves many pending questions about the preservation and conservation of this tourist archipelago, including the displacement of its inhabitants or the establishment of an overnight stay in rental houses, pensions, hostels or tourist rooms.
“It’s going to harm the tourist interests of Galicia and the economic activity of the islands.”
Additional reporting by Rita Sobot
Spain airport strike
Britons heading to Spain over Easter should be aware of airport strikes called for Easter Sunday, 21 April and Wednesday, 24 April.
The USO air sector, together with the UGT, have accused the workers’ employer, ASEATA of having “absolutely no interest” in reaching any sort of agreement in the row over pay and conditions.
Although by Spanish law, unions have to abide by “minimum services” regulations, the strike will hit all Spanish airports with varying degrees at one of the busiest times of the year.
The conflict will also affect the service of placing and removing gangways, which connect the aircraft with the terminals.
A strike by this group of workers is likely to cause long queues and delays to flights which could lead to a large number of cancellations.